The return of the Sentry! Bruce Banner back from the grave! Wakanda in space! Marvel's Fresh Start will relaunch Marvel's comic line in 2018, but some of the biggest changes will occur behind the scenes. Ta-Nehisi Coates will do double-duty writing both Black Panther as well as Captain America (joined by artist Leinil Yu). Dan Slott moves from writing Spider-Man to Tony Stark: Iron Man as well as the new Fantastic Four title. Doctor Strange writer Jason Aaron will write The Avengers (with artwork by Ed McGuinness). So what are these new writing and art teams going to do with our favorite characters in Fresh Start?
Although no one knows for sure, fans have come up with some incredible theories about what we might see in Fresh Start. With the return of the Fantastic Four, are we also seeing the return of the Marvel Multiverse as well? Will newcomers like RiRi Williams, Amadeus Cho and even Jane Foster disappear, or will they go to a whole other place and time? This is Marvel's second relaunch in under a year, so while we wait for the new books to drop let's take a look at 15 juicy fan rumors about Marvel's Fresh Start!
15 OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD
All New, All Different Marvel introduced to fans a whole new level of diversity to longstanding titles. When the Hulk changed back into a normal human, he wasn't Bruce Banner but instead , Amadeus Cho. Thor was no longer worthy to pick up Mjolnir and was replaced by Jane Foster. Even Iron Man, after a battle with Captain Marvel, was replaced by teenager RiRi Williams.
There was pushback over the replacement of fan-favorites over new characters, but people also were happy to see diversity injected into Marvel titles. Rumor has it that Marvel is going to bring back the classic, familiar characters, so with Fresh Start we'll see the return of Tony Stark, Thor Odinson, and others. However, just because the characters are gone doesn't mean they're forgotten...
14 ULTIMATE DIVERSITY
In the 2015 series Secret Wars, we saw the destruction of the Marvel multiverse, with one single reality resurrected by Doctor Doom. However, at the end of Spider Men II, we learned that the Ultimates Universe (Earth-1610) was still in existence! The Ultimate Marvel Universe premiered in 2000 and the fact that it is still around makes for exciting opportunities, but was it left in tact for a specific purpose?
Given the fact that the Diversity characters (such as RiRi Williams and Amadeus Cho) technically don't have a place to go, rumor has it that they 're being sent to Earth-1610, thus re-starting the Ultimate Universe, so to speak. You technically could have multiple Thors, Hulks, and Iron Men running around, but sending the Diversity characters to the Ultimates Universe Marvel can double dip by having old and new characters co-exist without stepping on each other's toes.
13 IRON MAN: BOLDLY GO
Iron Man first made his debut in Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963. As the years have gone on, the man has adapted with the times and has upgraded the Iron Man look and abilities over and over again. Modern day technology is now less about putting a man on the moon but more about how much data we can get on our phones, and rumor has it there may be a shift in how Iron Man redefines himself.
Fresh Start has Dan Slott writing for Iron Man, and he describes his approach as Rick and Morty meets Black Mirror. Although cryptic, it's a wonderfully visual response. Both Rick and Morty and Black Mirror show fantastical technology and the dangers associated with it. Perhaps Iron Man will be less about the hardness of his armor and more about high concept technical advances.
12 FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN
Peter Parker has been through a lot over the past few years. Not only was his body taken over by Otto Octavius for a period of time, Peter also found himself the owner of a tech company called Parker Industries. And yet, even after all that, when dealing with Spider-Man, fans are not sure how to handle change. At one point Peter Parker was married to longtime girlfriend Mary Jane Watson, but that marriage was dissolved after the events of One More Day.
Rumor has it that Marvel will be bringing Spider-Man back to basics, buoyed by the fact that he has already returned to a position at the Daily Bugle. Although we've been seeing a lot of Mary Jane Watson in the pages of Iron Man, if rumors are true, we can see a lasting return romance between Mary Jane and Pete. Of course, J. Jonah Jameson also knows of Spider-Man's secret identity now (and has weirdly been helping the Wall-Crawler), so he may not be back at the Daily Bugle after all!
11 THE BIG FOUR
In Justice League, the team roster is always adding and subtracting members but the core three are Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. In the Avengers, there's a similar situation in which there are multiple Avengers teams (New Avengers, Secret Avengers, West Coast Avengers to name a few) but the core three characters are Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man. That could change with Fresh Start.
Given the cinematic popularity of Black Panther, Fresh Start might see T'Challa having a bigger presence in the Marvel Comics Universe. Ergo, the Big Three might be increased to the Big Four. Black Panther's standing in the Marvel Universe will increase when Wakanda's intergalactic presence is established in the new Black Panther series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Wakanda Forever... in space!
10 LESS X
To get the Avengers to assemble in the past took several books, and at one time you had your pick of New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, even Uncanny Avengers. However, Fresh Start has stated that the Avengers titles will be consolidated into one book that will come out 18 times a month. This hopefully will funnel readership just to one book, but could this new schedule also carry over to other multiple title books, specifically the X-Men?
If you want to pick up an X-Men comic, you've got options. There's X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, X-Men Blue, X-Men: Red, and X-Men: Gold, not to mention spinoff comics that focus on a particular mutant. Rumors have it that the X-Titles could be going the Avengers route and have the books consolidated to just one X-Men title that could come out up to 18 times in a given year.
9 NO MORE INHUMANS
There was a time when Marvel didn't own the cinematic rights to all of its titles, and readers found that some characters slowly began to move out of the spotlight. The Fantastic Four were disbanded and Sue and Reed were nowhere to be found. With Fox owning the rights to the X-Men, most of the Homo Superior race were done away with courtesy of the Inhuman Terrigen Mists.
That was all changed when Disney bought back the rights to almost everything (sorry to those fans still waiting for a Rom movie). We have the return of the Fantastic Four as well as the return of the original Wolverine, who was "dead," encased in a giant blob of Adamantium. Rumor has it that, with the return of the cinematic rights to Marvel and the poor performance of the Inhuman television series, Marvel may be saying goodbye to the Inhumans. The new series, Death of the Inhumans, by Donny Coates and Ariel Olivetti, seems to confirm this.
8 MORE ADVENTURES IN SPACE
Why was Thor: Ragnarok such a success? Because it returned to Thor's roots. As weird as it sounds, although you may picture vikings on boats sailing the seas, this Norse viking's home is in space fighting aliens and traveling through the stars. Star Trek would agree with us when we say that space is the final frontier, and it seems like more and more Marvel titles are making their way into space.
In previews for Fresh Start, Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz will be writing/drawing Doctor Strange and taking him into outer space to replenish his ability to do magic. In Black Panther, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuna will set up the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. With the return of the Fantastic Four, it seems like the rumors are true: our favorite Marvel superheroes are venturing off Earth to infinity and beyond!
7 RETURN OF THE MULTIVERSE
In the 2015 series Secret Wars, we saw all of the realities in the multiverse destroyed except one: a world that was created by Doctor Doom who at the time had almost unlimited power. The power was taken from him, and the series ended with Reed Richards recreating alternate realities and worlds with his son Franklin and Owen Reese the Molecule Man. So what's next?
With the return of the Fantastic Four, rumors are that they are going to bring back with them the multiverse. Considering that Fresh Start has a lot of Marvel's heroes being space-bound (Doctor Strange and Black Panther to name a few), they may not only encounter the FF but the work that Reed has been doing behind the scenes for the past few years. This narrative has already begun, really, in Cheung and Zdarsky's Two-In-One title, featuring the reality-hopping Human Torch and The Thing.
6 WHAT PLANET ARE WE ON?
With so many alternate realities, how do we know one from another? The Marvel Cinematic Universe is considered Earth-199999 versus the Ultimate Universe which was Earth-1610. What about the Earth that has the mainstream comics we all know and love? Would that be Earth Prime? Earth 1? Actually, it's Earth-616, and although most people credit Alan Davis with the numbering, others have credited the former writer of Captain Britain Dave Thorpe.
After the events of 2015's Secret Wars, Marvel got rid of all of the alternate realities and had just one Earth; however, with the return of the Fantastic Four and the rumored return of multiverses, will we need a new way of labeling our realities? Both Joe Quesada and Tom Brevoort have said they did not like the 616 label, so now's their chance to come up with something new!
5 BORROW A PAGE FROM DC
When it comes to movies, Marvel has been turning out blockbuster after blockbuster. DC did well with Wonder Woman but otherwise has been struggling to find its cinematic footing. However, DC's comics game has been going strong and Marvel is being rumored to follow what DC did in its books.
In 2011, DC comics launched the New 52, which was a massive reboot of pretty much the entire DC comics universe. There were some positive changes and additions as well as others that weren't accepted by fans. DC Rebirth came out in 2016 addressing fan responses to changes. Based on DC's success with its recent comic books under that banner, Marvel may try and copy what its "Distinguished Competition" has been doing with its reboots in order to attract new readers and still retain the old ones.
4 WOLVERINE SOLO SERIES
The Death of Wolverine, as many suspected, wasn't going to be a permanent thing. Logan had stayed dead for a while underneath a giant blob of hardened Adamantium. While he was out of the picture, his clone X-23 became the All-New Wolverine. Fresh Start will change the book's name to X-23, so why the need to free up the Wolverine title?
Rumor has it that this means Logan is coming back to a solo book of his own. Besides explaining how he came back from the dead, Marvel will also have to explain why he came into possession of the Space Stone. Of all the Fresh Start rumors floating around, Wolverine in a solo title is probably the safest one to bank on. We wonder how X-23 and Old Man Logan feel about his return!
3 COMICS AND MOVIES GO HAND IN HAND
Translating comics to the big screen can be very difficult. There are elements that may look great drawn by an artist in a comic that doesn't look right when placed in front of a camera. It can be something as simple as a costume not looking right or something more complex like an elaborate plot line that may take too long to explain in one movie.
Rumor has it that Fresh Start will try and make the comics relate more closely to the cinematic universe. Marvel made the switch to have Nick Fury in the comics resemble that of Samuel L. Jackson in the films. The addition to the target on Bullseye's forehead was added after it appeared on Colin Farrell in the 2003 Daredevil. Does that mean Iron Man in the comics will start looking like Robert Downey, Jr.?
2 VENOMOUS RETURNS
Venom starring Tom Hardy will premiere in October 2018. It's an interesting approach given the fact that the character's backstory is tied into the 1984 series Secret Wars. To explain the Venom symbiote means understanding the Beyonders, Battleworld, and much more. We doubt that's going to be shown in the movie, so be prepared for a simplified version of the character's origins.
Given the potential success of the movie and the popularity of the character, rumor has it that we will be seeing more Venom and Venom-related characters in their own books. The Red Goblin (Norman Osborn with Carnage) is currently in the pages of Spider-Man, and in 2016 we saw Venom off-planet in Venom: Space Knight. Given there's also Anti-Venom and other symbiotes, there are lots of Venom stories still to tell!
1 CONTINUITY COUNTS
Sometimes, long-time comic book readers are punished. If you've been reading comics for years, you may find that some of your favorite moments may have been retconned out of continuity. For example, after the events of One More Day, the marriage between Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson was retconned thanks to Mephisto. The events in Ultimate Iron Man written by Orson Scott Card were dismissed as moments on a television show. So how important is continuity?
Dan Slott, while talking about writing Tony Stark: Iron Man, said that all of the continuity for the character would count (is he also referring to Teen Tony?), so what about other characters as well? Will Fresh Start also deal with Spider-Man's marriage? How about the events that happened in the Ultimate Universe? Time will literally tell.